I heard a pretty remarkable story about work life balance over the weekend.
Some friends and I were having brunch at east coast park with our families. The topic drifted towards work-life balance after a friend recounted why he quit investment banking after only 5 years.
(For those of you not familiar, the 5 year mark is when the money starts to get very crazy large. Most analysts slog the first few years in the hopes of one day reaching these riches)
Peter, the 5-year investment banker, told us this story:
First day on the job at the new firm I’m following HR person to my assigned desk. For those who haven’t been inside an investment bank the layout is basically:
Managing directors: large office with window. If you are the head of a group you get a corner office and pick your furniture.
Vice Presidents: small office with windows
The rest: associates, analysts and secretaries are all in cubicles far from the windows
As I follow HR person I walk past the cubicles and she opens the door of a large office.
HR Staff: Here you are
Peter: Is this correct? I’m an associate. Shouldn’t I be getting a cubicle and not an office?
HR Staff: I know but we are short on space and we are relocating some people so you will be here for a week or two.
Peter: But isn’t this Mr. X’s office?
HR Staff: Yes, but he will be out for a while … Probably back in 2 months.
Peter: What happened to him?
HR Staff: Heart attack, but he will be fine.
Peter: How old was he?
HR Staff: 34
It was at that moment I realised that this job was no joke. It pays very well because the pressure is so large. Even though I was just starting, I promised myself that once I hit a certain level of financial net worth, I’d quit.
I reached that target amount just after 5 years. So I left.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I enjoyed the money, it bought be a lot of comfort. But I knew once I had gotten enough money. I recognised that I had to pay attention to my health. I have a family to take care of. A life to live. Money is useless if you’re in the grave.
That was a pretty deep conversation. Immediately after our brunch ended. I made arrangements to get some exercise. We only have 1 body. 1 chance to take care of our health.
Health is going to be one of my top priorities this new year.
How about you? What will be your priority this year?
If you found this article helpful, check out the following links, too:
- Life and Career Lesson I Learned in 2016
- The Ultimate Key to Success
- The Importance of Positive Attitude in the Workplace
- Job Hunting Over Coffee
- How to Interview at McKinsey Singapore